From college roommates, to founders of GamerLink, a platform aimed to improve the quality of online matchmaking for gamers, Ryan Figueiredo and Deion Farrington are two entrepreneurs who were inspired to create a better online gaming experience for gamers.
The idea behind GamerLink was conceived in 2014 when the two founders were roomies during their studies at Fanshawe College in London, Ontario. Since the idea was born, the pair have raised over $210,000.00 from grants, competitions and angel investors, including a loan from Futurpreneur Canada’s Spin Master Innovation Fund.
The idea of GamerLink came from the frustration of being matched with incompatible, rude and uncommunicative teammates when playing online games. Deion and Ryan both wanted to create an easy solution for gamers, like them, to find other gamers that they would actually enjoy playing with. Currently online matchmaking matches players based on rank and skill-based algorithms and lacks customizable search criteria that GamerLink has utilized in their platform.
“There was nothing available to gamers that could solve this need for an efficient and effective solution to find gamers you would actually enjoy gaming with, across any online game,” Ryan explained. “There were a few solutions available for the most popular games, but they only provided a minimum improvement such a forum posting to find other gamers.” This is where GamerLink’s advantage is. Current technology lacked the ability to produce quality connections, so naturally, GamerLink took advantage of this by connecting gamers based on their search criteria and how they want to game.
Despite Ryan and Deion’s backgrounds in gaming and technology, Deion studying computer systems technology, and Ryan having experience developing and distributing mobile apps that attained 50,000+ downloads, starting GamerLink still came with challenges. “The hardest part about starting your own business is you are very inexperienced,” Ryan explained. But with the vibrant entrepreneurial community in Ontario, the two young entrepreneurs have made many great relationships with mentors who have helped them along the way, including the mentor they received through the Spin Master Innovation Fund.
The Spin Master Innovation Fund selects up to ten innovative start-ups each year to be recipients of financing, mentorship and exclusive professional development opportunities. Ryan explained that the program helped get GamerLink to where it is today by helping them reach their development goals in the early stages of Beta. Despite having a quick turnaround time for applying to the Spin Master Innovation Fund, the pair got their application in on time and stressed to aspiring entrepreneurs that you should not miss an opportunity.
“There were times we have had an opportunity drop in our inbox at noon and we needed to write a whole application and have a video pitch submitted by days end,” Ryan said. “We made it happen along with our normal daily tasks, and whether it is an application or a networking event, you never know where it might take you.” It’s with this can-do mentality that has brought GamerLink to where it is today.
Today, GamerLink is still in Beta on both iOS and Android devices with over 5,000 testers on the platform. “We are expanding every day and making iterations based on our user’s feedback,” Ryan shared. “The near future is extremely exciting for GamerLink as we begin to onboard more and more users and launch some pretty big features over the summer.”
Stay tuned with what GamerLink has in store by following them on Twitter here.
Interested in getting a boost from the Spin Master Innovation Fund just like GamerLink did? Applications are NOW OPEN until June 9th, 2016. Apply here.
Written By: Lauren Marinigh, Social Media & Content Creation Coordinator, Futurpreneur Canada